- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 10, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge said Tuesday that she is ordering an Ohio man charged with plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol to undergo a mental evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith said she’ll also set a deadline on potential use of an insanity defense for 21-year-old Christopher Lee Cornell. His attorneys stated last week in a court filing that there’s “reasonable cause” to believe he has a mental disease or defect.

The FBI arrested Cornell on Jan. 14 on charges he planned to attack the Capitol with pipe bombs and guns. He has pleaded not guilty to four charges, including attempted murder of U.S. officials and employees.

Beckwith also set new evidence deadlines, with a status conference in the case scheduled for April 4. There’s no trial date set.

Cornell attorneys Martin Pinales and Candace Crouse also represent a Cincinnati-area man, Michael Hoyt, who was accused this year of threatening to kill then-House Speaker John Boehner. He was ruled not guilty by reason of insanity.



The FBI has said Cornell, of suburban Green Township just west of Cincinnati, wanted to “wage jihad” and sent messages on social media and posted video in support of Islamic State group militants and violent attacks by others. The FBI said he had just bought two M-15 assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition when arrested.

Cornell later told WXIX-TV of Cincinnati that he wanted to shoot President Obama in the head.

FBI Director James Comey said last month in a Cincinnati visit that Islamic State group efforts to recruit homegrown terrorists go on “24 hours a day” across the United States.

Cornell, who uses the Muslim name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, has been held without bond since his arrest. His father has said he was misled and coerced by “a snitch.”

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